A welcome return here for Eddie Niguel‘s Integrity label, after an extended break. And what a return it is, with French/Dominican artist Crâne de Poule (no, your high school French didn’t fail you — that does in fact mean “Chicken Skull”) delivering four utterly spellbinding original tracks. Crâne de Poule, also known as Louise Engelmann, shows musical maturity way beyond her years, weaving classical and jazz influences in and out of brisk techno beats, all the while feeling free and jammed, more like live jazz performances than static track arrangements.
Every track on The Forest feels special, like a handmade gift. Opening with shimmering classical piano, “La Ambladura” is accompanied by, but never entirely gives way to, heavy, live-sounding drums, creative a strange fusion which somehow makes perfect sense. On we go, to the somewhat retro techno groove and unadorned vocals of title track “The Forest,” which, about half way through, pauses to hold a seance in order to conjure the ghosts of old Metroplex synth strings. Onwards and upwards, to the tough Detroit-esque thump of “Air Force Press One,” which quite suddenly, after three and a half minutes, introduces fragile concert pianos, once again somehow making perfect sense, against all odds. “The Hold (Reprise)” shows Engelmann’s composition chops and dexterity as a pianist in full force, calling to mind artists like Brad Mehldau with the sheer musical inventiveness of its intro, before suddenly switching gears into a synth-laden house journey.
I’ll make no bones (or skulls) about it: this is one chicken that’s impossible to pigeonhole. Crâne de Poule. Watch out for the name in future. I certainly will be from now on.
Crâne de Poule: The Forest EP (Integrity Records / Digital / July 2022)
1. Crâne de Poule: La Ambladura (09:08)
2. Crâne de Poule: The Forest (08:25)
3. Crâne de Poule: Air Force Press One (07:37)
4. Crâne de Poule: The Hold (Reprise) (10:14)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This record was submitted as a promo.